14. Dereck Lively II
After just a few months, Dereck Lively II has become the Dallas Mavericks' third most important player, and an argument can be made that he is the second most important player behind just Luka Doncic.
Lively II has been everything that the Mavs need out of their starting center and more. This season, he is averaging 8.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.6 blocks, and 0.7 steals per game. He has been elite in his role and has finally given the Mavs someone who can protect the rim.
The Mavs can't afford to trade Lively II because of his extreme importance to the squad. Dallas has not won a game this season that Lively II has been out for. This shows that Dallas plays much better when he is on the floor, and their post defense struggles tremendously when he is out.
This screams that Dallas needs a backup rim protector, but it also shows just how special Lively II is.
In both of his games against the two frontrunners for the Rookie of the Year race in Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren, Lively II has shined. He outplayed both of them in each of those games, and he doesn't back down from anyone.
The Mavs could have a franchise building block on their hands with Lively II, and I see him as someone who is nearly untouchable for Dallas.